Website Designing in the Perfect World
If you are thinking about designing or redesigning your website it’s important to get the big picture of what’s available to you. Your current web site design maybe one, two or more years old. It is not age of a web site that dictates whether you build a new one or not. You must first realize a web site is essential for growth and communication online. The methodology behind building a successful website has been available for decades. The initial step to designing a new site is a mindset to get it done in today’s market utilizing the latest technologies that ‘spell-it-out’ to your audience and prospects. Maybe a little reminiscing is in order to help us with today’s challenges in making the right choices for your business.
The Evolution of Business
Over time people have evolved. For example I was born in 1962 and recall when there were no fax machines, e-mail, Internet and many other modern day conveniences we take for granted. These were the days where special attention was always put on details. Human beings had more of a personal connection with each other. You could walk to your hometown hardware store with your dog and talk to the store owner. We often did business on a handshake and a smile.
Now (1990- 2010)
The digital revolution started to really gain steam in the 1990’s. Hardware and software began to threaten skilled trades people, business administration, traditional marketing, imagery and business models. If you were opposed to this revolution you were most likely dust in the wind. In the late 1990’s the internet for business and pleasure became widely recognized.
Today many people suffer from information overload. In fact some people believe the world has ADD. Have we developed short attention spans and a keen ability to multitask over the last couple decades? There is such a vast wealth of information available to people today that multitasking and short attention spans can add up to doing a lot of nothing. That simple fact plays a huge role in how you would display a marketing message or design to your audience. The most common and inexpensive way to market your product or service is on the Internet. Understanding the evolution of people and markets will be instrumental in creating a great business image online for you and your target audience today.
“The human brain did not evolve to accurately represent the world around us; it evolved only to enhance the survival of our genes.”- Victor S. Johnston (born May 4, 1943)
A Great Website Design is all I Need!
The truth is it’s a small part of conversion. Conversion is when a web site visitor takes the course of action you desire. This usually includes completion of a lead form, product purchases, sign up or a free download. It is the absolute truth that your graphic design will be pivotal in converting visitors to action. But you first need a visitor on your website to convert. If your website has no visitors you can be sure there will be no conversions. This is where graphic design and marketing intersect. Shown below is the formula to follow that will lead to the creation of an Engaging Site Design. The main design rule to follow is the 3-5 second rule. A visitor has to be able to understand why they are visiting your website within this timeline.
4 Simple Steps to Redesigning Your Website
Step 1- Your Marketing Blueprint
Just having a map to follow always makes a journey more enjoyable. It does not need to be anything extravagant but knowing what the aim and goals are is a good plan. Rarely do plans just happen; they are more often driven by determination.
A marketing blueprint is a statistical conclusion from industry and market trend data. Once it is generated it is your business map. As your journey continues so can your map.
Scalable mapping software will allow you to stay on your path while adjusting to market changes. For example the small blueprint below is generated using mind mapping software. With this software you can compose your marketing plan and make changes as new trends develop.
Free Research Tools for Blueprinting
If you are looking for data to help your decision making here are free tools you can use to help formulate a marketing plan that is factored into design elements of your new website design …
- Google Trends & Insights– Check out the long term trends of keywords
- Google Keyword Tool– Find the engaging keywords for your business that have proven search volumes
- Automated Market Analysis Tool– Enter you domain name and get a full report across search engines and social networks
In order to create your business online take a look at the following questionnaires…
Short Business Website Questionnaires
- New Adaptive Website– Get a free estimate on designing and launching a new mobile compatible website
- Content Writing – Instantly see a written report on effective ways to speak to your audience
Step 2- Website Design with Statistical Input
Based on the theory of evolution we must conclude people are impatient today when requesting information on the web. When surfing the Internet looking for a solution, a web surfer wants answers and wants them right now and that does influence the way you design your website.
Key Design Factors
For placement of certain graphics and key conversion components take a look at viewing monitor statistics.
Where do most people look?
When people look at a monitor a website designer ought to consider it is all about real estate. Some of the real estate is prime space and some is not. For example, the top fold (what the person sees before they scroll down) is considered prime real estate. Top fold space varies depending on user’s desktop settings.
Top Fold [Prime Real Estate]
Bottom Fold [Non-Prime Real Estate]
In general you want to design your web site with its core message in the top fold. Beyond that, there are other facts you can depend on from reliable sources. These facts will help you develop a more intelligent and intuitive graphic design that speaks loud and clear to its audience.
Heatmap…Where Human Eyes Go
In this heat map of Google’s home page we get a good idea what areas of the webpage people are most interested in. The hotter the color, the more clicks (eyes). We are beginning to see a pattern forming in the top fold … upper left.
Pixels from the left edge
Thanks to super smart usability experts such as Jakob Nielsen we can also learn what area of the monitor gets most attention. In the data above we can conclude that graphics placed 300 to 500 pixels from the left edge of your design will receive the most attention.
Generally it’s true people like to be told what to do from a trustworthy source. I understand this is not the case with all people but the majority need you to “tell them em what you want em to do”. Whatever your goals are (leads, purchases, brandlift, sign-ups) make them clear and concise to inquiring minds where applicable.
If you have set up a sales funnel (highly recommended) this will include several pages until your visitor reaches the goal (leads, purchase, brand, sign-ups). You’ll want to insure each step of your goal funnel is as slippery as possible. This is generally done by telling people what you want them to do and asking for very little in return. Walk them through your process like walking a plumber through your home to your leaking pipes.
Step 3- On-Page Optimization
During the process of web site design there are many extra features that can be included. These extra features will help your website gain respect and good ranking in search engines. The best time to perform on page search engine optimization is during the design process so it’s all in place when you launch.
Examples of on-page search engine optimization designers can include
- Alt Tags
- Tagging content
- Headings, boldface, italic
- Meta tag keywords
- Meta tag description
- HTML page title
There are countless ways to improve on-page structure.
Step 4- Tracking
Of course no marketing or advertising is complete without some method to gauge your response. If you have followed through this article you hopefully observed the significance of goals, website architecture and a marketing plan. At this stage here are some key questions to ponder …
- How do we know what we are doing works?
- How will I know the best keywords people use to find me (money keywords)?
- Can I learn more about people that complete website goals?
- How many people are coming to my site?
- How do people find my site?
- Who refers traffic to my site?
- How can I improve the results I am getting?
- I want to make my sales process online easier!
All these questions and more are answered with any decent website analytics software. Here are the top 3 paid web analytics providers.
Of course there is Free Google Analytics which works great and definitely is up there in the enterprise class range.
The simple take away here is to be tracking and analyzing your website after it’s been redesigned in anyway especially. You’ll be impressed with what you learn about your business as it relates to your prospects and clients through analyzing your results.
There you have it. I have tried to give you the Reader’s Digest version of considerations for your website design today. Hopefully these website design steps give you the tools you need to achieve more goals in your business. Once your machine is running here’s your the ongoing process I like to follow.